On marrying her dream man Everyday, I thank the Almighty that I ended up marrying the man I was attracted to since I was 12. Like millions of girls my age back then, I was smitten by Dilip Kumar, India’s greatest superstar. I remember seeing him at a social event at director Mehboob Khan’s house for the first time—it was a thrilling moment. After all these years, I am still head over heels in love with Yousuf sahab.
On her husband’s acting legact He was a star who was extremely picky about his work. If sahab liked a story and was convinced that the producer and director were capable of delivering a good film, he chose to do it irrespective of remuneration and other factors. He once told me about a producer, who offered him a suitcase stacked with cash in exchange for doing a role that was absurd and which required him to ride a buffalo! He refused to do it. It is a well-known fact that Yousuf sahab never behaves like a superstar, whether he is at work or home. He is always unassuming and undemanding, putting the comfort of those around him first.
On the devdas vs pyaasa debate One of the questions people ask all the time is about why Sahab refused Guru Dutt’s 1957 classic Pyaasa. Well, if you study his films seriously you will see that he doesn’t like to repeat himself as an actor. They all dealt with varied subjects. When Pyaasa was offered to him, he was already making Bimal Roy’s Devdas (1955). As he stated in interviews before this, he thought it would be bad business sense to do two films, where he portrayed similar characters.
On his social conscience and chemistry with other actresses Yousuf sahab’s films (like Gunga Jamuna and Naya Daur) often focussed on important issues because he believed
that an actor had a social responsibility to fulfil. He thought that he should be careful in selecting projects that had a social purpose, but at the same time possessed all the qualities that would draw audiences to the cinema. As far as his onscreen pairings go, I am a great fan of his films with Vyjayanthimala and I have always maintained that they had a magic that was unbeatable.
On Dilip Kumar, outside the movies He has always been a great conversationalist because of his extensive reading. He can speak on any topic and has a wonderful sense of humour. Yousuf sahab is also a people person. Even today when we go to weddings, people come up to him and chat. He still goes for a daily walk at Joggers Park in Bandra, where he is stopped every now and then by fans for a handshake. He is fond of food and particularly partial to egg bhurjis, chicken sandwiches and chaat. He used to be an avid traveller. Together, we have travelled to some of the most celebrated wildlife sanctuaries around India. He taught me how to enjoy the sort of silence, interrupted only by the roar of a lion or the shrill cry of a wild bird.
A few of his favourite things He likes his tea service to be elegant and perfect. He loves to read any kind of gripping fiction, listen to classical music and share Urdu poetry with like-minded, close friends. At one point in his life, he really enjoyed flying kites. He has a trunk full of kites, which he had collected from all over the country. He loves to watch sports, go for sunset drives and talk to all his sisters and brothers. In the movies, his favourite performers are James Stewart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Muni.
Apropos Living With A Legend, the awesome talent, the grounded humility, the dignity of speech and conduct—truly, an era has gone. Are we really the richer for forgoing these qualities for much baser attitudes?
Rajesh Chary, Mumbai
Very heartening to learn about Sairaji’s taking care of Dilip Kumarji as befitting a well-cultured Indian lady. Especially as there are examples of actresses abandoning their husbands in the last phase of their lives. Parshuram Gautampurkar,
Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan
Dilip Kumar is indeed a living legend, the first superstar. Yusuf saheb started his career prior to Partition, yet felt the need to adopt a ‘Hindu’ screen name as he felt his real name would restrict his appeal. Over six decades later, we have Aamir, Shahrukh, Salman, Saif among others, who have had no problems becoming superstars using their given names.
D.L. Narayan, Visakhapatnam
I have two movies of Mr. Dilip Kumar, in DVD format. They are 'Azad', and 'Naya Daur', the second a collectors edition in colour. I cannot bear to sit through his movies. I haven't viewed my DVD's. The movie, Shakti, seemed unbearable, because Amitabh Bachchan and Dilip Kumar were not for each other, but against each other, as equal protagonists in the movie. I have never been more depressed, and just before Mr. Bachchan meets his end, seems to be the part I loved. It appears, Mr. Bachchan had a similar ending to his film in Deewar. I wouldn't like to watch his movies, and I didn't see Devdas. Mr. Dilip Kumar seems to be romantic about how he looks, not about who he looks at. It seems, a man redeems himself, if he doesn't imagine looking at himself when he looks at another, but when he sees himself as he is.
It`s very very nice and praiseworthy to learn about Saira ji that she is taking so much care of her husband-Dilip Kumar ji well , befitting to well cultured Indian Lady, engaged fully in serving her legendary husband. There are examples in the film industry when the bollywood actress abandoned their husbands in their last days and when they were passing through straitend financial circumstances and sometimes while passing through last phase of their life , leaving them in isolation and with no one to take their care.
Everyone has a word of admiration for Saira ji on this very account.
Talking about Dilip Kumar and the era when he rose to superstardom, one cannot but wonder, if in present era, that is in so called progressive liberal 2012, a no body from a non filmy background - say someone who is daughter or son of a fruit seller or carpenter or something else, can attain stardom in Bollywood.
Same is equally true of other "Woods" of South india too. Film Industry is getting increasingly feudal and being the son or daugther of someone who is related to the industry seems give folks and advantage in this industry. Right now not everyone in the entertainment industry in India is there due to his/her daddy or mommy , but a significant minority are like that - which itself is not a big problem, but if majority becomes that way, it is a cause of great concern..
and I forgot about SRK and Gauri, Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao ...
Tum Jiyo hazaron saal, Dilip Yusuf Saheb, saal ke din hon pachaas hazar
(live for a thousnd years, Dilip, with every year of 50 thousands days)
Mohammed Yusuf (aka Dilip Kumar), born in pre partition era present day Pakistan, moved to mostly Hindu India, was accepted by the mostly Hindu audience and could be considered as first big blockbuster giving superstar of bollywood. His legend is a product of the "Composite Culture and Tolerance of largely Hindu India"..
In contrast, one cannot name even a single Non Muslim who moved to Pakistan or Bangladesh and worked his/her way to fame and glory in Islamic republic of Pakistan or Bangladesh..
Or has any non islamic citizen been allowed to move/settle in Kashmir valley of secular India and acheive a "legend" like status?
Speaking all this may distract us from the topic and it is possible that this comment is banned for that reason, but I could not but observe the difference and apologies for hijacking the thread..
BTW my best wishes for the legend, may he live to live long life... And the message of his life is "HARD WORK" and MORE HARD WORK.. something that an entire generation of present day liberals dont even understand...
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